The date? April 29, 2011. The time? Way, way too early across the pond. Kate Middleton stepped out of a black Rolls-Royce in a white dress, and we were forever changed. Okay, that may be a bit dramatic. But the world was simply shook when Kate Middleton tied the knot with Prince William in Westminster Abbey, and you can safely say that nothing was ever really the same. After all, the 2011 royal wedding brought us Kate's still-talked-about-today Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen wedding dress, maid-of-honor M.V.P. Pippa Middleton, and Prince Harry's eternally adorable "Wait until you see her." (Let's relive that last one, shall we?)
So let's throw it back to that fateful date in April 2011—Kate Middleton and Prince William's royal wedding day. We're relieving all our favorite moments, from Kate Middleton's wedding dress reveal to the couple's kiss on the Buckingham Palace balcony. It's hard to believe that it's been eight years since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said I do, and if you scroll through the photos below it'll feel like just yesterday that you woke up at dawn and turned on your TV to watch Will and Kate tie the knot.
The Celebrity Guests
Guests—including the couple's friends from university, Prince William's air force buddies, and celebs like David and Victoria Beckham, Elton John, Guy Ritchie (who went stag), and Joss Stone—arrived between 8:15 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. London time, decked out in their very best suits, dresses, and of course, fascinators.
The groom showed up promptly at 10:10 a.m and headed inside Westminster Abbey to wait for his bride.
The Queen Arrives
Queen Elizabeth II wore a butter yellow dress and coat by Angela Kelly to her grandson's nuptials.
The Best Man and Bridal Party
Prince Harry served as Prince William's best man, wearing the Blues and Royals ceremonial uniform and hitching a ride with some of the pint-sized members of the wedding party. The mini bridesmaids included Grace van Cutsem (Will's goddaughter), Eliza Lopes (Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall's granddaughter), Lady Louise Windsor (Will's cousin), and Margarita Armstrong-Jones (Will's second cousin), all of whom wore custom white satin gazar dresses with pale gold sashes, designed by Nicki MacFarlane. Prince William's godson, Tom Pettifer, and Billy Lowther-Pinkerton, the son of Will's secretary, served as pageboys.
The Bride's Grand Entrance
Kate Middleton rode to the ceremony with her father in a vintage Rolls-Royce, and exited to reveal her ivory and white satin gazar Alexander McQueen ballgown designed by Sarah Burton. The bride carried a small, shield-shaped wired bouquet of myrtle, lily-of-the-valley, Sweet William, and hyacinth designed by Shane Connolly.
Kate's younger sister Pippa served as maid of honor and wore an ivory satin-based crepe gown with a cowl neckline, designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. Like any good MOH, she paid special attention to the bride's train—which was just under nine feet long!
Per British tradition, Prince William stood with his back to the congregation as his bride walked down the aisle, making the moment he first laid eyes on Kate in her wedding dress all the more special.
Kate walked down the aisle to "I Was Glad" by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry. The Choir of Westminster Abbey, the Chapel Royal Choir, the London Chamber Orchestra, and the Central Band of the Royal Air Force also performed various selections, including "March from The Birds" by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, "Fantasia on Greensleeves" by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and "Romance for String Orchestra Op. 11" by Gerald Finzi.
The ceremony was performed by three officiants: the Dean of Westminster conducted the service, the Archbishop of Canterbury presided over the vows, and the Bishop of London gave the address. Kate and Will exchanged traditional vows, but Kate did not promise to "obey" her new husband. Instead, the couple vowed to "love, comfort, honor, and keep" each other.
The ceremony ended at 12:15 p.m. when Kate and Will recessed to the song Crown Imperial by William Walton—which was also played at Princess Diana and Prince Charles 1981 wedding.
Just look at those smiles!
The Carriage Procession
In true Cinderella fashion, the newlyweds then headed to Buckingham Palace in the same carriage that transported the groom's parents after their wedding—a 1902 State Landau originally made for the coronation of Edward VII.
The Bridal Beauty Details
Kate's hair, styled by James Pryce of the Richard Ward Salon, was worn half up and was topped with the Cartier halo tiara, on loan from the Queen herself. Kate's diamond earrings were by Robinson Pelham and were a gift from her parents. And the bride opted to do her own makeup after receiving several private lessons with Arabella Preston, a London makeup artist.
Buckingham Palace Balcony
At 1:25 p.m., the newlyweds appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to wave to the crowds and share a public kiss, a tradition begun by Charles and Diana. Royal Air Force planes flew overhead before the couple kissed once more (to the delight of everyone watching!), and then returned inside for a buffet-style wedding breakfast for 600, hosted by the Queen.
Considering the crowd's deafening cheers, the only one who seemed unsatisfied with the PDA was the couple's little disgruntled flower girl, Grace van Cutsem!
Following their first reception, the newlyweds rode off in an Aston Martin decorated with ribbons, bows, balloons, and a license plate printed with the phrase "JU5T WED."
William drove the short distance to Clarence House, where the two would enjoy a little downtime before the evening reception.
The Evening Reception
At the evening reception hosted by Prince Charles, Kate Middleton swapped her iconic Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen gown for a more streamlined satin gown by the same designer.
The Wedding Cakes
The official royal wedding cake was a multi-tiered traditional fruitcake by British cake designer Fiona Cairns. The cake was decorated with the couple's new cipher and each tier had a different floral theme. The English rose, Scottish thistle, Welsh daffodil, and Irish shamrock were all featured, as were Sweet William, lilies of the valley, and acorns.
A chocolate biscuit cake was also served. A childhood favorite of the groom's, the cake was made by the McVitie's biscuit company and contained 35 pounds of chocolate and 1,700 McVitie's Rich Tea biscuits.
The Official Wedding Portrait
We wouldn't blame you if you hung this on your very own fridge.